The Waseda University Institute of e-Government has released the result of its recently concluded 2006 Waseda University e-Government Ranking. The Philippines ranked #23 out of 32 countries evaluated in the study.
Prof. Toshio Obi, Director of the Institute noted that the survey this year covered more countries, and added new categories that characterize an idealA total of 32 countries (economies) were surveyed in this project. The top ten e-government in the ranking came from (1) USA, (2) Canada, (3) Singapore, (4) Japan, (5) Korea, (6) Germany, (7) Taiwan, (8) Australia, (9) United Kingdom, and (10) Finland.
Areas surveyed in the e-government of each country included:
1) Network Preparedness
The foundations of e-government such as Internet users, Broadband users, Cellular phone users, PC users and Security system have been well established, while the gap between the advanced countries and developing countries is getting closer. Concerning the infrastructure of information technology, countries (economies) such as United States, Canada, Finland, Korea, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan are doing well with high level of network infrastructure.
I believe that the Philippines is lagging behind on this one because of our poor tracking of country's growth. The big gap on the number of mobile phone users (33 million) versus Internet users (11.2 million) versus number of computers (2 million) do not sum up properly. This is despite the fact that hardly any effort is exerted to push for mobile phone growth.
The lack of funding and resources given to our law enforcement authorities to establish a cybercrime program gives a clear picture as to how e-security is regarded in the country.
2)Required Interface-Functioning Applications
Concerning Required Interface-functioning Applications, Online applications, e-tender system, e-tax system, e-voting system, e-payment system, and user-friendly interface, were examined. As a result, each country introduces online applications with aggressive approach, while other countries that do not have such systems yet will introduce it in the near future. The user-friendly applications of e-governments are required to attract the citizens’ interest. In terms of e-voting, most countries do not have the concrete plan to promote it.
The Philippines still has to develop a national e-tender system. The country's e-procurement site only provides posting of opportunities, no e-bidding yet. Our e-tax system is not yet friendly enough to small enterprises and freelance professionals. Whether we'll be able to implement an e-voting system remains to be seen. Most e-government sites today hardly undertook any usability study or consultation, worst no guidelines, to ensure that this is what the stakeholders want.
For an e-payment system, the government still has to develop, through the Bureau of Treasury, how can government agencies accept electronic payments. Same day inter-bank fund transfer is far from reality. However, there's a possibility that this can come true of government resources such as the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas' PhilPass will be used down to the consumer level as well.
3) Management optimization
It is important for e-governments to optimize the whole administrative works using high-level applications, systematically and effectively. Under this consideration, EA EICT investment, System optimization, Integrated network system are promoted mainly by the advanced countries while the countries which are ranked low in the research also progress in Administrative and budgetary systems, and Public management reform by ICT as well. Therefore, it can be said that, at this point in time, the difference in terms of e-government establishment between advanced and some developing countries are getting ambiguous.
In the Philippines, the lack of an e-government plan makes management optimization far from reality. However, there's hope that this will be done next year and possibly realign all initiatives today.
Homepage situation, Updating frequency, Public disclosure, Link navigation system, Multi-language correspondence were analyzed. Currently, many countries update or renew their homepage on a daily basis. However, on the multi-language correspondences, very few countries translate their websites from their official and native languages to other identified by the United Nations (UN), namely, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Russian and French. Websites of countries such as United Kingdom, United States, the Philippines, and Singapore, use only English, their official language. For European countries, it is necessary that at least two languages, namely English and French are used. However, not all complied with this requirement. Even in Latin America and Asia, not all websites from these two regions have an English version.
Before translating to any other language, perhaps the Philippines should first have all government websites in the national language vernacular. They must be required as well to update their websites on a daily basis as they mostly have communications group that can easily do the job if they wanted to.
The designation of chief information officers (CIO) in the government is seen as a very vital strategy to bridge the gap between management and technology. Thus, the introduction and training of CIOs are very important for the success of e-government. Some countries have the same position with the same capacity but different titles. Though, the title CIO is becoming very important since there are growing international collaboration in support of CIO human resource development. In this area, indicators that were evaluated included Introduction of CIO, HRD, Human Resource Development, for CIO, Supporting body for CIO, Role and function of CIO.
The Philippines has the CIO role through IT heads of government agencies, the National Computer Center, and the Commission on Information and Communications Technology. What is needed to date is to have an ICT knowledge requirement to all future cabinet secretaries, undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, directors, and managers. I believe it is easier to teach ICT to an agriculture specialist than the other way around.
6) Promotion of e-government
Promotion of e-government is measured using the following indicators: Priority of e-Government Planning and Strategy, Promotion Activities, Legal Framework, and Evaluation System. This is an added area in measuring e-government, to the previous ranking, which looked into the strategies of prioritizing e-government as part of a country’s national strategy; activities that promote e-government; passage or amendments of laws that provide the legal mandate; and self-assessment efforts. According to this research, many countries place e-government at the core of the national strategy. However, some still lack the legal framework for e-government.
The Philippines, I hope, will have this area resolved once we have a national e-government program with corresponding metrics to evaluate its success and return on investment.
2nd Waseda University World ranking on e-Government 2006
1. United States
9. United Kingdom
11. Hong Kong
16. The Netherlands
19. New Zealand
23. The Philippines
26. South Africa
The institute will continue monitoring and evaluating the development of e-government worldwide, as a way to contribute to the development of e-government worldwide, a tool for promoting the development of an information society, reinforcing international competitive power as well as strongly supporting citizen’s lives.